Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Oh Do you know the muffin man?

Oh do you know the muffin man, the muffin man the muffin man? Do you know the muffin man that lives

 on 550 East?

Zach has taken to making breakfast on Saturday mornings once in a while and since he was gone this Saturday, he made up for it by making peach muffins on Memorial day Monday.

Whole wheat peach to be precise with a yummy crumble topping. Truly a renaissance man with many talents. Mostly its these or whole wheat apple cake but we love both. Gives mom a break and the boys love to "help".

Saturday, May 28, 2011

T-ball Scrum

 I borrow a term from Rugby, a sport I know nothing about. I just see these kids run for the ball and pile up on each other and it doesn't look too much like T ball to me. I'm new to this though. Its cute to watch them play but there isn't much too it. Everyone on the team gets to bat, there are no outs, and no score is kept. Basically just practice hitting and throwing if you are the lucky one to get to the ball first. I think Gabe enjoys it though. After watching him play on this team of 4-6 year olds I'd say he's about in the middle as far as skills go, but I'm sure most of that has to do with their age.
 This is Gabe hitting in his giant t-shirt. We were a few minutes late because I had 3 small boys to haul around all by myself so we got the last of the pickings. Opps, sorry Gabe. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The first Mormon President

"The first LDS leader to be elected president of his country may not be Mitt Romney or Jon Huntsman Jr., but rather Yeah Samake, who has recently announced his candidacy for the president of Mali.
Currently serving as the mayor of Ouelessebougou, Samake is in Utah for a few weeks to generate support and plans for his campaign.
Samake was elected mayor of Ouelessebougou in 2009. At that time, the collection of 44 villages was ranked 170 out of 174 municipalities in Mali in terms of economic development, transparency of government and management. "We have since been able to bring it into the top 10 in the country. Ouelessebougou is now a pilot municipality because of the way we have run things with transparency, public participation and strict financial accountability."
Wherever poverty and literacy abide in large measure, corruption can creep into politics, and that has been the case in Mali in the past, but the people are seeking a change, says Samake. "Integrity and accountability have become very important."
Samake has instituted a council of tribal elders, what he likes to call his "Elder's Quorum," where each village sends two trusted elders to the council. It keeps leaders accountable and has become an agent of communication to the communities. "It has become a vehicle of change," says Samake. "People are gaining trust in their local leaders." And that has translated into economic change. "The collection rate of taxes has risen from less than 10 percent to 68 percent."

I was so impressed when I read about Samake that I decided to take some of my birthday money and make a donation to his campaign. A week or so later I received a thank you in the mail personally signed by him. I figure that this man could effect some real change in a country with much more scarce resources than our own. If you find your self able to make a similar contribution you can do so here.

Monday, May 23, 2011

You want to put a what? Where?

             Let me tell you about my orthodontist. Picture this if you will, a bright, clean, newish looking office that comes with a matching well-manicured receptionist possessing long flowing hair and immaculate fashion sense. She also can't stop smiling with her chicklet white teeth. Continue to scan around the room now at the beautiful young dental assistants floating around like concubines for the sheik, all sporting perfectly straight pearly white teeth too. The lot of them are a walking advertisement for the business. The walls are decorated with a surfer motif and there are posh looking pictures of the staff and the orthodontist's family adding to the ambiance. The sheik himself sets the mood for his all-female staff by showing off a big perfect grin supported by the latest in Banana Republic attire.
             Each time I go I feel like I need to dress up a little and change out of my blue jeans, but then I remember, what for? Why would I dress up for an appointment meant to inflict pain? Its all just a shinny facade for the inner torture chamber. That being said, I actually like my orthodontist, as much as a person can like another who is bending their skeletal structure to their will.  Its even one of those places that actually runs on time so there is very little waiting. This last aspect of the orthodontist experience is slightly annoying though, since I am secretly wishing to read my book just a little bit longer rather than have to a seat in THE CHAIR.
          Well this is where I found myself last week- THE CHAIR. After the precursory prep work is done by one of the aforementioned lovely dental assistants, it was my turn to see El Jefe- the boss. I tell him my problem with the bands not seeming to work and he tells me to bite down. He examines my dental imperfections for all of ten seconds and exclaims, your going to need a button. Excuse me- a what? A button? What are you doing putting a button in my mouth? If I push on it with my tongue will it shoot me too the moon? Or better yet will you magically appear with pain medication for my inevitable oral discomfort? Good thing he is trained in mind reading since most of his patients can't talk. He answers my unsaid questions- well except for the one about the moon.  "A button goes on the inside of the tooth to hook on a rubber band and expand your palate. Awesome. More metal work on the inside of my teeth in addition to the braces on the outside. He continues, "You're going to hate it but hopefully it will move this process along." Oh really? Because it sounded kind of nice before you said that. Go ahead, do your worst, I can take it. Five minutes, 1 nauseating acrylic smell and a button later I'm out the door with strict instructions to now wear not one but TWO rubber bands in my mouth. It is 24/7 prescription with both bands situated in triangular fashion to help "fix my bite". In essence they wire my mouth shut when they are both in. As I'm exiting the office I'm thinking to myself, "Why on earth did I get braces in the first place, my teeth weren't that bad. At least not THIS bad." When I tell Zach this through more or less gritted teeth he says "I warned you. Hey, does the button make you a better kisser?" Ha, you wish!  My button and I; mouth fellows for the next ten months or so. Lucky me. stay tuned for the next addition of "Fun at the orthodontist."

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors


Robert Frost

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

I came across this poem in high school English and I loved it. I still do. I liked it so much, in fact, that I drew a mediocre oil pastel in art class depicting a crumbling stone wall described in the verses. As I looked out at our fenced in backyard and those of our neighbors, I was reminded of this poem the other day, "Good Fences make good neighbors." Well do they? Does privacy and boundaries create a comfortable situation where everyone knows their limits and is happy with them? To that I believe Frost would say, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall". Perhaps that "something" is freedom or better yet unity. I don't often wax philosophical and my head is pretty cloudy right now, but I just thought I'd share my musings and this lovely poem.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Off the Charts

Cuteness? Intelligence? Well perhaps its related to those two things...

Yesterday I took this little potato spud to the doctor and his head size was quite literally off the charts- not by a little bit either. His height was only 40% and weight 65%; a little chubby but its part of the charm. His not-so-little dome, however, was 99.45% . A good half centimeter above the top line. David came to the doctor's too but they didn't measure his head- I can only imagine what his would have been. He put up enough of a fuss just getting weighed and measured. We've been yanking sweaters over that child's head for 3 years now. Sheesh! More to love, right? I always knew my children were exceptional.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

My buddy and Me

He came for a little of this 

Stayed for a little of this

Best of both worlds. Hope you had fun dad. 

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Honesty Box

"[One] factor that pollutes laboratory experiments is scrutiny. When a scientist brings a lump of uranium into a lab, or a meal worm or a colony of bacteria, that object isn't likely to change its behavior just because it's being watched by someone in a white lab coat.
      For human beings, however, scrutiny has a powerful effect. Do you run a red light when there's a police car- or, increasingly thes days, a mounted camera- at the intersection? Thought not. Are you more likely to wash your hands in the office restroom if your boss is already washing hers? Thought so.
       Our behavior can be changed by even subtler levels of scrutiny. At the university of Newcastle upon Tyne in England, a psychology professor named Melissa Bateson surreptitiously ran an experiment in her own department's break room. Customarily, faculty members paid for coffee and otehr drinks by dropping money into an "honesty box." Each week, Bateson posted a new price list. The prices never changed, but the small photography atop the list did. On odd weeks, there was a picture of flowers; on even weeks, a pair of human eyes. When the eyes were watching, Bateson's colleagues left nearly three times as much money in the honestly box. So the next time you laugh when a bird is frightened off by a silly scarecrow, remember that scarecrows work on human beings too."

From: Superfreakanomics, Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner

Friday, May 13, 2011

Its always fun when Grampy comes

 I bet you'll never guess what these beauties are...

(Tina's wisdom teeth. What a treasure.)

I'm going to have to borrow this one from Tina when she's done with it

Gabe learning to play chess with Grampy. Its pawns, knights and kings only for now.
The beautiful necklace that Mom got me for my birthday and that Dad delivered. This along with birthday presents for Gabe, David, and Tina. Thanks mom and dad. It was actually quite fortunate that dad was here on Wednesday because I was sicker than a dog, crumpled up fetal style with food poisoning.He helped me out with the boys while Zach was at work. Fortunate day for me to get sick. Thanks dad. Come again soon Grampy. And if you are wondering, I'm feeling much improved.

Monday, May 9, 2011

What could be so interesting?

Did I mention I have 3 little boys. We did this for a good half hour that day, twice. Hour total. It was kind of fun actually to watch them lay and spread cement in our neighbor's yard. Even with the sun in our eyes.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Look who's Five

This is a big year for Gabe and me. He will be starting kindergarten in the fall and I'll be a "school mom" for the next 20+ years. Here are some snap shots of our little Cinco de Mayo child on his fifth birthday- turning 5 on 5/5 (5/5/06)

Some things I love about Gabe:
He has the most sencire prayers I've ever heard. The Spirit must whisper to him what to say because he prays for things like peace in our home and gratitude for our blessings.
His excitement for life. Always full of energy, always excited about new things, always having fun. 
His total 100% focus when we read him books or he listens in primary. He just loves a good story.
How he likes to pick me flowers and tells me I'm beautiful when I head out to go to the temple. 
The way he plays with David and is a big help with Mac

 His old bike made him look like a clown riding a tiny bicycle because it was so small for him.

Gabe's request this year was a dragon cake. I was pretty proud if this one.

We had a treasure hunt 'Dora Explorer style' with where the kids had to follow a map

Best friend and cousin Haley

Tradition! Tradition, ahhh ah, tradition! The birthday bite

The piñata, or as Mac liked to call it- "Truck". A magical truck full of candy. Mac was SO excited to help me fill it but disappointed when we had to leave the candy inside. 

David ended up breaking the piñata open.
 This was no accident since Dad was the one running the piñata show.

Cooling off on one of the first hot days we've had with the party favor water guns

I just had to throw this kid in because he looked so funny. He's a neighbor friend of Gabe's. 

Happy birthday Gabe!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Winning Photo

I just finished another 5 week photography community class at UVU and I really enjoyed it. Every week we had assignments and the class voted on which ones they liked. The two top people each week won a free11x16 print of their choice. I happed to be one of the winners last week with this photo. To be honest, I'm not even sure if I like it, but sometimes ugly is beautiful. Some of the other pictures I turned in I thought were a lot better. Perhaps photography students just get bored seeing mountains, people, and flowers so they enjoy it when there is something visually interesting- such as this banana peel David left on our neighbor's swing. It was nice to win, but this is definitely NOT the shot I'm having printed to hang on my wall- perhaps something more like mountains or people.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

28 Years Young

Monday was my birthday and Zach surprised me with this...

He gave his students a choice between writing his wife a birthday Haiku or taking a quiz. Most of them opted for the poem. Zach collected 19 Haikus and he filled in the gaps writing the remaining nine poems that would make 28 in all. Here are some of my favorites.

Today is your day
Happens only once in May
Enjoy your birthday

Mary Poppins can't
Compare with my wife; she's
just practically.

Today sure is great
And you are now twenty-eight
Let's go celebrate.

Orbit's completed
Another year succeeded
Rise, renewing dawn.

Shakespeare struggled to
improve on a day in May;
Your parents didn't.

And this is this last one especially:

Alana on your 
special day remember your
husband is so great.

Thanks for the Birthday poems!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

At the gym today I read...

"Seven days without exercise makes one weak"

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hiking the Y

Gabe's ongoing enthusiasm for the hike sounded something like this, "Mom this is great. I love hiking. I want to be a hiker when I grow up. This is so much fun. I came back to hike with you because I didn't want you to be alone. Can we do this again?"

David's lack of enthusiasm sounded something like this, "Mom I don't like this. Can we go home? I want to go back to the car. Can you carry me? My legs hurt. I don't want to do this."

Zach's response to David and Gabe," Keep going, you're doing a great job. Just a few more turns. We're almost there. No one is going to carry you David and we're not going back to the car. I'm already carrying Mac."

Mom tugging David along ::Click, Click:: "Come on David, you can make it. We can rest just up there at that rest spot. No I cannot carry you. ::Click, Click::

It took about an hour to complete the one mile hike up, toting three little ones, but it was a great FHE. It took maybe 45 minutes to get down. A "flow" experience as Zach would call it, or in other words, rising to meet a family challenge. I think we will save a repeat of this particular "flow experience" until next year when David's legs are a little longer.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Women's Conference

This past weekend I got the opportunity to attend Women's Conference with some good college friends of mine who also happened to be the bride's maids at my wedding. Aren't they lovely? The one on the far right, Janice, is pregnant with her first little baby. It was a wonderful three days. Zach and the boys bunked at Ben and Joy's for the duration. Thanks to Ben and Joy, my sweet husband all the other thousands of husbands who helped make it possible. The theme of the conference was "By small and Simple things."

(Don't let the flowers fool you, it snowed the next day)

There was quite a bit of this happening in the sessions. Either projects people had brought from home or ones they picked up there as a service to be donated when completed. 

Some Quotable Quotes I heard and loved (Sorry I didn't get the source for most of them)

"No scriptures, no answers; Know scriptures, know answers"
(a bumper sticker as quoted by Sis. Kearon)

"You have scriptures, and you have knees" 
-Sis. Julie Beck

Instead of "Heavenly Father please hear me" say more often, "Heavenly Father help me to hear you."

"Great faith has a short shelf life"
- Pres. Eyring

A man or a woman is a small thing, but through them God works great miracles
-Michael Wilcox

"The history of Relief Society is passed by words and numbers, but the heritage is passed heart to heart."
-Susan Tanner (she may have been quoting someone else)

"Welcome the task that takes you beyond yourself"

"A singing mother makes a happy home"

"I saw no purposeless pain but purposeful sanctification."

"Add to your prayers of thanksgiving, acts of thanks-living."

"In spiritual matters DO sweat the small stuff, and its all small stuff."

There were many more thoughts and notations I wrote down. It was a rich spiritual experience and a fun time- out from life. If you are ever able to go, I highly recommend the experience.